Councilman wants new health standards at Boise's daycare centers

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A Boise city councilman wants to set nutrition and physical activity guidelines for all city-licensed child care centers.

The new initiatives would help make sure your children are eating healthy foods and getting plenty of exercise - even when you're not with them.

At East Foothills, one of nearly 300 city-licensed daycare centers in Boise.

Shana Campbell helps take care of 12 children all day long, which means kids eat breakfast, lunch and snacks there. Campbell says the toddleres eat lots of fruits and vegetables and can watch 15 minutes of TV on occasion.

"I just think it's so important at a really young age to instill those values, how important nature is, exercise for your body, keeping it healthy and eating properly," Campbell said. "I think it's a big challenge that we have to meet those goals, so the more we can do the better."

T.J. Thompson, a Boise city council member has proposed Boise Healthy Child Care Initiatives, which would encourage all licensed child care centers in Boise to color within the same lines.

In the proposed guidelines, children older than 12 months would be required to have 20 minutes of physical activity for every three hours they're in daycare. Watching TV or playing on computers for fun would be limited to an hour each day.

Care centers that provide meals and snacks would also have to follow USDA Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) guidelines to make sure your kids are eating the right kinds of foods.

"They're small children, we have a huge responsibility to bring them up in the best way that we can," Campbell said.

If the initiative passes, city-licensed child care centers wouldn't be cited if they didn't follow these guidelines, however, the city says there would be a website where you can check and see how well your child's daycare meets the nutrition and activity standards.

The city will hold two open houses this month to share more information about the boise healthy child care initiatives. The first will be on Saturday, April 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the main library at 715 S. Capitol Blvd. The second hearing will be held Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. at the Cole & Ustick library.